Saturday, 28 April 2007

Astronauts Recall View Before Earth Day

April 20, 2007 — By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

The rarest view in humanity -- Earth from afar -- moves many of the lucky few observers to tears and gives them a new appreciation of that blue marble we all call home.

When astronauts return from space, what they talk about isn't the brute force of the rocket launch or the exhilaration of zero gravity. It's the view.

Only two dozen men -- those who journeyed to the moon -- have seen the full Earth view. Most U.S. spaceflight has been in low orbit where only a piece of the planet can be seen -- a lesser but still impressive glimpse. Those travelers have seen the curvature of Earth, its magnificent beauty, its fragility, and its lack of borders.

The first full view of Earth came from the moon-bound Apollo 8 during the waning days of a chaotic 1968. Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders put it all in perspective in a documentary: "We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth."

Some of the photos Anders took were used on posters and pins on the first Earth Day in 1970. They've been "an environmental staple of Earth Days ever since," said Denis Hayes, the first Earth Day coordinator.

For Earth Day this year -- at a time when perhaps some perspective is needed -- The Associated Press asked space travelers to recall what it's like to see Earth from above:


"It was the only color we could see in the universe. ... "We're living on a tiny little dust mote in left field on a rather insignificant galaxy. And basically this it for humans. It strikes me that it's a shame that we're squabbling over oil and borders."

--Bill Anders, Apollo 8, whose photos of Earth became famous.


"It's hard to appreciate the Earth when you're down right upon it because it's so huge.

"It gives you in an instant, just at a position 240,000 miles away from it, (an idea of) how insignificant we are, how fragile we are, and how fortunate we are to have a body that will allow us to enjoy the sky and the trees and the water ... It's something that many people take for granted when they're born and they grow up within the environment. But they don't realize what they have. And I didn't till I left it."

--Jim Lovell, Apollo 8 and 13.


"The sheer beauty of it just brought tears to my eyes.

"If people can see Earth from up here, see it without those borders, see it without any differences in race or religion, they would have a completely different perspective. Because when you see it from that angle, you cannot think of your home or your country. All you can see is one Earth...."

--Anousheh Ansari, Iranian-American space tourist who flew last year to the international space station.


"Up in space when you see a sunset or sunrise, the light is coming to you from the sun through that little shell of the Earth's atmosphere and back out to the spacecraft you're in. The atmosphere acts like a prism. So for a short period of time you see not only the reds, oranges and yellows, the luminous quality like you see on Earth, but you see the whole spectrum red-orange-yellow-blue-green-indigo-violet.

"You come back impressed, once you've been up there, with how thin our little atmosphere is that supports all life here on Earth. So if we foul it up, there's no coming back from something like that."

--John Glenn, first American to orbit the Earth (1962) and former U.S. senator.


"I think you can't go to space and not be changed, in many ways ....

"All of the teachings of the Bible that talk about the creator and his creation take on new meaning when you can view the details of the Earth from that perspective. So it didn't change my faith per se, the content of it, but it just enhanced it, it made it even more real."

--Jeff Williams, spent 6 months on the space station and set a record for most Earth photos taken.


"Earth has gone through great transitions and volcanic impacts and all sorts of traumatic things. But it has survived ... I'm not referring to human conflicts. I'm referring to the physical appearance of the Earth at a great distance. That it generally is mostly very peaceful (when) looked at from a distance."

--Buzz Aldrin, second man to walk on the moon.


"I see the deep black of space and this just brilliantly gorgeous blue and white arc of the earth and totally unconsciously, not at all able to help myself, I said, 'Wow, look at that.'"

--Kathy Sullivan, first American woman to spacewalk, recalling what she said when she saw Earth in 1984.


"...From up there, it looks finite and it looks fragile and it really looks like just a tiny little place on which we live in a vast expanse of space. It gave me the feeling of really wanting us all to take care of the Earth. I got more of a sense of Earth as home, a place where we live. And of course you want to take care of your home. You want it clean. You want it safe."

--Winston Scott, two-time shuttle astronaut who wrote a book, "Reflections From Earth Orbit."


"You change because you see your life differently than when you live on the surface everyday. ... We are so involved in our own little lives and our own little concerns and problems. I don't think the average person realizes the global environment that we really live in. I certainly am more aware of how fragile our Earth is, and, frankly, I think that I care more about our Earth because of the experiences I've had traveling in space."

--Eileen Collins, first female space shuttle commander.


"You can see what a small little atmosphere is protecting us.

"You realize there's not much protecting this planet particularly when you see the view from the side. That's something I'd like to share with everybody so people would realize we need to protect it."

--Sunita Williams, who has been living on the international space station since Dec. 11, 2006.


"I left Earth three times. I found no place else to go. Please take care of Spaceship Earth."

--Wally Schirra, who flew around Earth on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions in the 1960s.


EDITOR'S NOTE: AP writers Rasha Madkour in Houston, Mike Schneider in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


On the Net:

NASA's database of astronaut photos of Earth:

NASA biographies of astronauts quoted:

Anousheh Ansari's biography:

Source: Associated Press

Saturday, 21 April 2007

DEMA Recap From SeaLife Cameras

SeaLife introduces new Digital PRO Flash, repositions Reefmaster Mini and introduces new Logo during Orlando event.

Digital PRO Flash

At DEMA 2007, Sealife introduced the Digital PRO Flash – SL961, which replaces the Digital Flash – SL960D.

The Digital PRO Flash is compatible with any SeaLife camera as well as all other brands of digital underwater cameras. It also features a new AUTO mode setting, which automatically adjusts the flash brightness for the optimal image exposure. A variable power adjustment setting allows the user to manually fine-tune the brightness for the desired effect.

“The best underwater photographs capture a whole other world,” said Joe Ifi, SeaLife Cameras director of sales and marketing. “This flash enables the photographer many different options in both settings and uses thus making that other world so much more accessible.”

Depth tested up to 200 feet (60m), this flash has an effective underwater distance range up to about 8 feet (2.5m), which makes it one of the most powerful flashes available in the market. Its flexible, rubberized arm allows for a sure grip and easy aiming. The flash is operated by 4 AA batteries for approximately 100 flashes.

The SeaLife Digital PRO Flash includes a universal mount, an optical cable connection which attaches to any camera as well as a deluxe carrying case. The Digital PRO Flash has a suggested list price of $399.95 and MAP of $349.95.

New Pricing

As of November 1, 2007 SeaLife has repositioned its ReefMaster Mini and Ecoshot cameras, just in time for the Holidays. The ReefMaster mini will now have a Sugg. Retail of $279.95 and MAP of $249.95 while the Ecoshot will be at $229.95 Sugg. Retail and $199.95 MAP. Both cameras are in stock and available for immediate shipment.

New SeaLife Logo

SeaLife unveiled their new contemporary logo design October 31 at the DEMA show in Orlando, Fla. The new image was reflects the ever-evolving aspects of the SeaLife brand and identity in today’s modern digital world.

“We place great emphasis on making sure that our brand image and logo reflect our dedication to providing consumers with the latest digital technology,” said Bjorn Harms, Vice President of SeaLife Cameras. “This new look for SeaLife encompasses the multi-faceted aspects of our growing business.”

For more details, visit the SeaLife Cameras website at

Material posted and distributed through DiveNewswire

International Underwater Photo & Video Competition

Under the Blue 2007

Over $20,000 in Prizes!

Next in the series of underwater imagery events, and on the heels of the popular Our World Underwater & DEEP Indonesia competitions, Wetpixel, DivePhotoGuide and the 2007 SCUBA Show are proud to bring you “UNDER THE BLUE 2007”.

Photographers will compete in four still image categories, including a category for images that focus on California’s unique and beautiful underwater environment, and one video category. Winners will share in more than $20,000 in prizes, including premium dive travel, underwater photography and diving equipment! Travel prizes include trips to some of the top photo destinations in the world including Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and Australia.


  1. Majesty of the Oceans
  2. The Macro World
  3. Man & the Sea
  4. California Underwater
  5. Video

The Great Turtle Race

Eleven Leatherback Turtles to Compete in the Great Turtle Race from Costa Rica to Galapagos from April 16 to April 29

The Great Turtle Race, a unique international sea turtle conservation event bringing corporate sponsors together with conservation organizations, will take place from April 16 to April 29 in a global bid to raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered leatherback turtle.

Ten corporations and institutions will compete in The Great Turtle Race, including Dreyer’s Ice Cream, GITI Tires, Plantronics, Travelocity, West Marine and Yahoo!, which is hosting The Great Turtle Race online at .

Non-corporate sponsors include Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, CA; Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA; Life Sciences Secondary School in New York, NY (through the financial sponsorship of Microsoft); and Offield Center for Billfish Studies. An eleventh “celebrity” turtle will be announced during the week of April 9. The Great Turtle Race is organized by Conservation International, the Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy, The Leatherback Trust and the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) program.

The sponsored turtles have been equipped with satellite tags and are “racing” toward feeding areas south of the Galapagos Islands after nesting at Playa Grande in Costa Rica’s Las Baulas National Park, the primary nesting area for leatherbacks in the Pacific. The leatherback is a 100 million-year-old, massive sea animal that outlived the dinosaurs but is now dangerously close to extinction. Leatherback numbers have decreased at Playa Grande from thousands of nesting turtles 10 years ago to fewer than 100 in the last five years. This online event will raise funds to protect Playa Grande and raise awareness about what individuals can do—no matter where they live—to help protect sea turtles in our daily actions.

James Spotila, president of The Leatherback Trust, said, “It’s time for people to rally around these ancient creatures and to understand that the actions we take—as individuals, as governments, as businesspeople—can have either a negative or positive effect on the ocean.” Poaching of eggs, bycatch in gillnets and longline fishing, destruction of sea turtle nesting beaches and ocean pollution threaten leatherbacks with extinction.

“One of the wonderful things about this event is that it allows us to engage the public in conservation with upbeat messages,” said Roderic Mast, vice president of Conservation International and co-chair of the IUCN—World Conservation Union’s Marine Turtle Specialist Group. “It also just so happens that when we eradicate threats to leatherback turtles, we eradicate threats to countless other species of marine wildlife.”

Corporate Sponsors Participate to Help Save 100-million-year-old Species from Extinction

Starting April 5, fans will have a chance to choose a favorite turtle at to cheer throughout the race. During the race, viewers can follow each turtle’s journey and learn about the obstacles it will face along the way—including fishing lines, nets, and trawls; plastic bags (often mistaken for jellyfish, the leatherback’s primary food source) and other marine debris; and many other human-created hazards.

“It’s fascinating to consider that we are able to bring together these prehistoric animals with such cutting-edge science. With every move the turtles make, the satellite tags collect information that would be extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive for humans to gather,” said Stanford University researcher George Shillinger of TOPP. “The data provides a nearly real-time ‘turtle’s-eye view’ of animal behavior in relation to environmental change.”

As the leatherbacks surface to breathe every several minutes, the satellite tags transmit data such as geolocation, water temperature and water depth to satellites in space, which then transmit the data back down to computer servers in the U.S. in nearly real time. That data is then combined with remotely-sensed data about sea surface temperature, sea surface height, bathymetry and more to build a more comprehensive understanding of the ocean with each dataset.

This information will enable scientists and managers to development innovative conservation measures and adaptive management strategies that consider oceanography, animal behavior and human pressures and work to conserve sea turtles and other migratory species.

Activities for fans on include an opportunity to choose their favorite turtle in the race; an interactive animation of the habitats and hazards along the leatherbacks’ journey; original blogs by scientists, students, and a character known as Mr. Leatherback who are following the race; and Great Turtle Race educational curriculum for teachers to incorporate the event into lesson plans.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Shark Alliance send open letter to Commissioner Borg

On March 1st, 2007, the Shark Alliance sent an open letter to Commissioner Joe Borg. The letter calls on Borg to ensure that the European Union (EU) use the occasion of next week’s meeting of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) to address the plight of the world’s valuable yet vulnerable shark populations.

Commissioner Borg acknowledged last year that a comprehensive set of management measures is required and the Shark Alliance calls on him to set a timeline for plan development and implementation.

Less than 20% of COFI member nations have completed the promised National Plans of Action and no international catch limits for sharks have been adopted. COFI provides a key opportunity for the EU to take the floor during discussions of the FAO International Plans of Action (IPOAs) to report on progress and expected completion of this important goal.

Commissioner Joe Borg
European Commission
B-1049 Brussels

Dear Commissioner Borg:

On behalf of the Shark Alliance, a coalition of 27 non-governmental organizations committed to improving European shark policy, I am writing to urge you to ensure that the European Union (EU) use the occasion of next week’s meeting of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Committee on Fisheries (COFI) to address the plight of the world’s valuable yet vulnerable shark populations. We thank you for recently underscoring the EU commitment to producing a shark action plan, as agreed at the 1999 COFI meeting, and request that the EU take the floor during discussions of the FAO International Plans of Action (IPOAs) to report on progress and expected completion of this important goal.

It has been eight years since global concern over the plight of these slow-growing and under-protected species led to the adoption of the Shark IPOA. Sadly, progress under this agreement has been pitiful. Less than 20% of COFI member nations have completed the promised National Plans of Action and no international catch limits for sharks have been adopted. We believe the EU, given its role and influence in the global fisheries arena, has the responsibility to set a good example and act as a leader in encouraging other fishing countries to conserve sharks on national and regional scales.

Since 1999, scientific warnings of shark depletion have only intensified. The IUCN now considers one third of European sharks (and closely related skates and rays) assessed to be Threatened with extinction. Advice from International Council for Exploration of the Sea scientists to end fishing for severely depleted spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks, considered Critically Endangered off Europe by the IUCN, has been ignored. Rapid expansion of deepwater shark fisheries has led to disaster for the targeted populations and associated industries. Last week, IUCN experts added shortfin mako and thresher sharks to the IUCN Red List, demonstrating that even the fastest, widest-ranging sharks are vulnerable to serious overfishing.

The Shark Alliance agrees with your assertion during last fall’s European Parliament debate on shark finning that prohibiting the practice is not sufficient to ensuring sustainable shark fisheries and that a more comprehensive set of management measures is required. Whereas we appreciated your commitment to complete such a plan at the earliest possible date, we believe setting a timeline for plan development and implementation is necessary to ensure steady progress and timely completion of this critical task.

Considering that much preliminary work has been done, we believe that the plan can be completed by the end of 2007, provided sharks are given the high priority that is warranted by their biology and status.

Sharks are among the oceans most vulnerable animals. As top predators, they are also vital to marine ecosystems. We believe the upcoming COFI meeting offers the EU a key opportunity to signal a new era of responsible stewardship of these exceptionally imperiled and important species. We hope you will embrace this opportunity by ensuring that the EU delegation details its plans and timeline for shark conservation and calls on other nations to do the same.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sonja Fordham, Policy Director

Read more about the Shark Alliance HERE

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


(306) Alesti RSS Reader: "Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President, Product Management

At Google, we are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to make the information you want more accessible and more relevant—and to deliver it as fast as possible. Since Google's inception, it has always been our intention to present users with highly targeted, useful advertisements when appropriate—ads that unobtrusively complement users experience. We have always believed in, and tirelessly pursued, the idea that serving relevant, unintrusive ads would best serve our advertisers in the long term.

To that end, we are truly excited to announce our acquisition of DoubleClick. DoubleClick provides a suite of products that enables agencies, advertisers, and publishers to work efficiently, that will enable Google to extend our ad network and develop deeper relationships with our partners.

This new partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for us at Google to broaden and deepen our inventory of available ads and to better serve both our publishers and users. Together, Google and DoubleClick will empower agencies, advertisers, and publishers to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, which will, in turn, provide a better experience for our users.

Sponsored information served by Google has always been, and will always be, clearly distinguished from objective content available via our search results and across our "

American Chronicle: Self Enlightenment While Diving in Fiji

American Chronicle: Self Enlightenment While Diving in Fiji

Vickie Milazzo

Inc. Top 10 Entrepreneur, Vickie L. Milazzo, RN, MSN, JD is the founder and president of Vickie Milazzo Institute, a legal nurse consultant training and certification company. She is the author of Inside Every Woman: Using the 10 Strengths You Didn?t Know You Had to Get the Career and Life You Want Now, 2006.

We all understand the significance of agility to grow a successful business. But how agile are we really and how can agility in our personal life help us grow in our business life?

A near-drowning experience when I was a child left me wary of swimming and totally unwilling to go deeper than snorkeling along the water's surface on a trip to Fiji.

Before Tom and I went to Fiji, he had already been scuba diving many times during the preceding five years. I'd heard his fun stories, but I knew he still occasionally experienced anxiety due to a long-ago diving incident. Tom, the daredevil, with all his diving experience, having anxiety? That made it even harder for me to decide to go for it. The only way I would venture"

Read the full scoop here how diving in Fiji really opened Vickie's eyes...

Scuba Diving Board - Dive Fiji Fiesta 2004

Scuba Diving Board - Dive Fiji Fiesta 2004: "Dive FIJI!

Fiji can be described with one word: WOW!

Believe me, you want to go to Fiji at least once in your lifetime. You owe it to yourself! But be forewarned: once won't be enough."

As a media representative from on a familiarization trip sponsored by the Fiji Visitor's Bureau I recently spent 11 days in Fiji and had the opportunity to visit ten different resorts. We barely scratched the surface of what Fiji has to offer but in that short time I came to realize what a treasure Fiji is� especially for a scuba diver!

Read full article here

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Island Dreams celebrates 20th Anniversary

Fiesta Americana Hotel Cozumel and Dive House recognize Ken Knezick and Island Dreams for the company’s years of service

A big celebration took place recently at Saint Arnold Brewing where friends, associates, the adventure experts of Island Dreams Travel, dive shop members, representatives of the world’s finest resorts all came together to enjoy refreshments, music, belly dancer show and excellent prize drawings for lodging and diving. The occasion was the 20th anniversary of Island Dreams travel.

Island Dreams has been serving the dive industry for two decades. During this event, two prominent operations in Cozumel provided special acknowledgement to Ken Knezick and his staff.

Fiesta Americana Cozumel & Dive House gave recognition to Island Dreams for its professionalism and compromise during 20 years to the Dive Travel Industry. Island Dreams has been working closely with both operators for more three-quarters of the time they have been in business.

Island Dreams carefully serving dive travelers since 1987, from the Caribbean to the Pacific, for more information visit:

Toll free: 800-346-6116
Phone: 713-973-9300
Fax: 713-973-8585

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Effort to Catalog Species Tops One Million

April 10, 2007 — By Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A worldwide scientific effort to catalog every living species has topped the 1 million milestone.

Six years into the program the total has reached 1,009,000, researchers report. They hope to complete the listing by 2011, reaching an expected total of about 1.75 million species.

Thomas M. Orrell, a biologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, said the finished catalog will include all known living organisms, from plants and animals to fungi and microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoa and viruses.

"Many are surprised that, despite over two centuries of work by biologists and the current worldwide interest in biodiversity, there is presently no comprehensive catalog of all known species of organisms on Earth," Orrell said.

The listing does not include fossil species from the past.

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System-Species 2000 Catalog of Life provides access to data maintained by a variety of scientific organizations, each specializing in a certain area.

For example, information on dipteran flies is maintained by the Agriculture Department's Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Natural history museums in London, the Netherlands and New York maintain clothes moth, dragonfly and spider data. Experts in Canada and Paris keep the data on Ichneumon wasps and longhorn beetles.

These lists are peer-reviewed and checked technically, and then integrated into special software for the catalog.

The project, involving some 3,000 biologists, is led by Frank Bisby of the University of Reading in England and Orrell.

"We tidy it up and do a peer review to see which pieces are the best ones to use, like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle," Bisby said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "If you want to do international comparisons, you need a master list. It's a little like if you were running a supermarket, you would have to do an inventory."

Having internationally accepted standards for species' names will help researchers compare the diversity of life in various regions of the world and produce uniform catalogues of germs, packets of seeds or genetic resources, he said.

Only rarely is there competition among names, such as occurred with sea anemones, hard corals and spiders, and occasionally an element of subjective opinion plays a role among the peer reviewers with various taxonomic expertise, Bisby said.

"It can sometimes be very difficult to decide," he said.

Taxonomy, the formal system of naming living things, was launched by the Swedish scientist Karl von Linne -- known as Linnaeus -- in the 1700s and his name still appears in the database.

Look up gray wolf in the ITIS catalog and it produces the scientific name Canis lupus. Go to that listing and find that the wolf was given its scientific name by Linnaeus in 1758 and has two synonyms. Included are the wolf's common names in English, Spanish and French. So, too, its scientific classification and reports where it is distributed.

Confusion occurs when the same plant or animal has many common names in different places. Taxonomists seek to solve that problem with the catalog's use of scientific names along with the various common uses.

The biggest section of the database currently is LepIndex, listing 253,680 species of lepidoptera, which are butterflies and moths.

At the small end of the scale is a database that covers 86 species of krill, the tiny shrimplike creatures that whales eat.

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Biological Information Infrastructure is providing support for the effort.

Associated Press writer John Heilprin contributed to this report.

Catalog of Life:

Catalog source data:

National Biological Information Infrastructure:

Source: Associated Press

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Trawling, Industry Threaten India Turtle Nesting

DEVI, India -- The scattered carcasses of dead turtles bake on the hot sand. Scraps of the white shells of turtle eggs surround a hole where stray dogs have dug up a nest.

Until a decade ago, this beach on India's east coast used to witness one of nature's most spectacular sights -- the mass nesting of tens of thousands of Olive Ridley turtles on a single night.

Not since 1995 has that happened. These days just a handful of turtles come to the beach at Devi to nest, and its status as one of three main nesting sites for the Olive Ridleys in India's coastal state of Orissa is under threat.

Read the full article on ENN...

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Tagging of Pacific Pelagic (TOPP) research project

The Tagging of Pacific Pelagic (TOPP) research project explores the Pacific, using a carefully selected group of animals from its ecosystems to gather data about their world. As a pilot program of the Census of Marine Life (COML), an international endeavor to determine what lives, has lived and will live in the world’s ocean, TOPP scientists will tag individuals from 21 species of marine predators in the Eastern Pacific to obtain an “organism’s eye” view of their world. Jointly run by Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Lab, the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Long Marine Laboratory, NOAA’s Pacific Fisheries Ecosystems Lab, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, TOPP also includes team members from several countries.

TOPP tests the effectiveness of using animals to gather biological and environmental data, tracking the individuals’ movements while recording valuable oceanographic and ecosystem data from their immediate surroundings. TOPP tags have collected and returned massive quantities of this data, helping scientists build a rich picture of key travel corridors and “ocean hot spots,” or gathering zones where animals feed and breed. While several projects have tagged limited numbers of individual species, TOPP scientists and engineers lead the animal-tagging research community in building a broad, multi-taxa (group of species), interdisciplinary approach to data collection and sharing.

Read more about this great project here...

Full protection for great white sharks

1 April 2007 Media Statement

Full protection for great white sharks starts today

White pointer sharks will now be fully protected within the 200 nautical miles of water around New Zealand, and from fishing by New Zealand-flagged boats further afield, the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries announced today.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said despite the white pointer's reputation as a predator, it was vulnerable to fishing and becoming rarer throughout the world.
"These majestic animals occur naturally in low numbers and, without protection, could be pushed to the brink of extinction. The Wildlife Act provides a strong deterrent against targeting great whites with a $250,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment as a maximum penalty."

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said the white pointer shark was not known to be targeted by commercial fishers but was occasionally taken as by-catch. "However, recreational fishers do occasionally target them because there is some demand for jaws and teeth as fishing trophies.

"No one wants to see an animal hunted to extinction for the sake of a jaw or a few teeth, or to be placed under pressure by accidental catch. Under these new regulations no fisher will be able to profit from taking a white pointer, and any fisher inadvertently catching one will have to return it to the sea, intact, and alive, if possible," Jim Anderton said.

New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton

However, it is still legal to use shark nets to protect swimmers around beaches in Dunedin, and fishers accidentally catching and killing white pointers will not be prosecuted, provided they register the death with authorities.

The Wildlife Act makes it illegal to hunt, kill or harm a white pointer shark within New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ - 200 nautical mile limit around New Zealand). It will also be illegal in New Zealand to possess or trade in any part of a white pointer shark. As well, New Zealand is a signatory to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and has an obligation to prohibit the taking of white pointer sharks.

The species will be further protected on the high seas by the Fisheries Act, under which New Zealand-flagged boats will be prohibited from taking white pointer sharks while fishing outside the EEZ.


Monday, 9 April 2007

Gates announces release of EM43 high resolution color monitor

Compatibility with global high definition standards amongst many new features.

San Diego, CA – April 9th, 2007 – Gates Underwater Products, the global leader in reliable underwater housings, is pleased to announce initial deliveries of the new EM43 external color monitor. The EM43 is a ground breaking product for Gates and packed with features:

Bright widescreen LCD for accurate image perspective even in sunlight;

Auto sensing of standard definition and all common high definition formats;

  • SD version: NTSC / PAL
  • HD version: 720p/60 ● 720p/50 ● 1080i/60 ● 1080i/50

Sharp, detailed high resolution display suitable for both image framing and critical focus;

Low battery indicator for ~30-60 minutes warning to change batteries;

Self powered with 8 AA batteries that can be alkaline, lithium, or rechargeable;

Long battery life – 10 hrs in SD and 14 hrs in HD modes with Alkaline cells;

Auto-sensing power on/off means an end to unexpected battery depletion;

Neutral buoyancy for easy add-on to any system without affecting trim and balance.

The EM43 is also classically Gates: ‘bulletproof’ construction backed by a 2-year warranty. Further, the EM43 was designed in two versions:

SD version will support Gates current customers around the globe. Unplug a previous model Gates monitor and plug in the EM43. Sharpness, clarity and resolution are significantly enhanced with the EM43 LCD.

HD version for new Gates housings. Accepts an HD input from the camera for the sharpest image display on the EM43 monitor. Some Gates housings may be retrofit with an HD version of the EM43 (contact Gates for more information).

The Gates EM43 is now available. Contact your Gates dealer for more information.

About Gates: For over 38 years Gates Underwater Products has produced the world’s most reliable underwater housings. Using ‘bulletproof” machined aluminum, 100% mechanical controls, time-proven design methods, and state of the art manufacturing, Gates housings are built to satisfy the most demanding recreational divers, imaging professionals, marine researchers, salvage operators and military personnel.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Dive Into Fiji - Fiji Scuba Diving - Fiji Diving Resorts - Fiji Dive Packages

Dive Into Fiji - Fiji Scuba Diving - Fiji Diving Resorts - Fiji Dive Packages

"Fiji, “the Soft Coral Capital of the World”, is rated as one of the top 10 dive destinations in the world. It is well deserved. Fiji’s vast, varied and colorful underwater playgrounds boast something spectacular for divers at every skill level… breathtaking hard and soft corals, wall dives, caves, grottos and shipwrecks. Fiji is truly a diver’s paradise where the daily menu is so diversified that it is sometimes difficult to believe you are in the same country."

Friday, 6 April 2007

Deron Verbeck Sets New US National Record

The United States Apnea Association (USAA) is pleased to announce that Deron Verbeck, a USAA member, set a new US national record in the freediving discipline of Static Apnea with a performance of 7 minutes and 28 seconds on April 2, 2007.

This performance surpasses the previous record of 7:22 held by Deron at the 2007 AIDA Team World Championships in Egypt.
New Static Apnea mark of 7:28 set during recent event in Hawaii

This performance was realized during the April Fools No Fins Invitational in Kona, Hawaii on April 2, 2007. The static competition took place in the pool at Jack’s Diving Locker in Kona, Hawaii. Two AIDA judges judged Deron’s performance as valid. Deron stated, “My warm up was shorter than normal, so I did not know how it was going to go. I was feeling pretty bad at four minutes, so I thought it was not going to be my day, but at six minutes I felt much better. I decided to go for it. I felt strong at the finish. ”

Static apnea tests the athlete’s ability to hold their breath for time. The athlete lays face down in the shallow end of a pool with a coach providing for safety signaling and timing. Upon surfacing at the conclusion of their performance the athlete must perform a surface protocol by removing their facial equipment, signaling okay and saying, I am okay, to demonstrate he or she is in control of his or her performance. Other disciplines include tests in depth and distance.

The USAA is a nonprofit association founded on the democratic representation of freediving within the United States and internationally. Founded in 2003, the USAA consists of an active membership dedicated to furthering freediving in the United States and abroad. For more information about the USAA, the U.S. National Freediving Team, and membership please visit

The International Association for the Development of Freediving, AIDA, is the international sanctioning body for freediving, individual and team competition, and freediving world record attempts. For more information about AIDA please visit

Molvania (Jetlag Travel Guide)

As a Molvanian native, I thought at first that this is yet another one of those soulless Western monographs, good only to patronize and condescend to the locals.

Imagine my surprise then when, on close scrutiny, I found how the team at JETLAG has managed to compile an accurate and actually useful guide, an opus that will serve well all travelers, past and future, to Molvania and beyond. I find that the maps especially are a treat in their accuracy and detail, especially considering that you cannot buy maps in Molvania proper. Details of cuisine and local customs are also accurately captured, and their flavor stays with you even longer than the hangover.

There is one omission in this travel guide, however, one that I hope will be addressed in future editions: a section addressing the needs of business travelers is sorely lacking, and visiting business persons will find that they need all the help they can get while transacting their affairs with Molvanian tycoons.

PS - To all Molvanians and neighboring natives who have spoken negatively on this one: please lighten up, this is a fine read (two minutes at a time), one of the best jokes related to that part of the world, enjoy it!

Scientists warn that depleted shark populations disrupt marine ecosystems

In research published in the journal Science, scientists have warned that the depletion of shark populations is disrupting marine ecosystems.

The research suggests that overfishing of sharks releases their prey from predation, causing a knock-on effect down the food chain. A team of biologists from Dalhousie University analysed data from the past 35 years, finding that while 11 shark species had dramatically declined in abundance, 12 of the 14 fish species they prey on had increased.

The lead author of the research, Dr. Ransom Myers, a world-renowned fisheries biologist, sadly passed away on March 27, aged 54.

Read more here...

ReefBase Pacific: Strengthening Information Access and Dissemination in Support of Effective Coral Reef Conservation and Management

Duration: January 2006 – December 2008

Funding: AFD, UNF

Partners: International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), University of the South Pacific (USP), École pratique des hautes etudes (EPHE), South Pacific Environment Program (SPREP)

The ReefBase Pacific project will make an important contribution to realisation of the objectives of AFD’s Regional Initiative For The Protection And Management Of Coral Reefs In The South Pacific (CRISP) by:

  • Promoting a holistic approach to the protection and management of coral reefs (considering not only ecological, but also social and economical information requirements) by applying the lessons learned from previous and existing activities by ICRAN, ReefBase, GCRMN, and regional partners.

  • Mobilizing, standardizing, integrating, disseminating, and promoting the extensive data-, information-, and knowledge-bases currently present, but underutilized, in the South Pacific nations and territories.

  • Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of targeted research, by assembling and rationalizing the information needed to build effectively on previous and existing work.

  • Providing a vehicle for dissemination of information for coral reef initiatives.

In order to make these contributions effectively, the proposed project has set the following general objectives (in logical order):

  • To develop an active, collaborative, region-wide network of coral reef professionals currently involved in the research, conservation, and management of coral reef resources in the South Pacific, who effectively and efficiently share and discuss data, information, issues, and solutions.

  • To use the region-wide network to mobilize an unprecedented knowledge-base on coral reef resources and their monitoring, conservation and management in the Pacific, using established methodologies and formats developed by ReefBase, GCRMN, and ICRAN.

  • To utilize the network and knowledge-base to create an effective, easily accessible information system which can provide managers, researchers, and reef users with instant access to the wealth of existing and new information relevant to the management and sustainable use of coral reefs in the Pacific.

  • To widen the scope, impact, efficiency and effectiveness of current coral reef management and conservation activities, through the development of a network of professionals in Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, who communicate and share information.

The project will develop close collaborations with existing information systems and initiatives and seek to coordinate and interlink them together in ReefBase Pacific by jointly developing, disseminating, and promoting relevant, high quality information products for specific, targeted beneficiaries (researchers, managers, policymakers, educators, and the media).

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Rare "Prehistoric" Shark Photographed Alive

Flaring the gills that give the species its name, a frilled shark swims at Japan's Awashima Marine Park on Sunday, January 21, 2007. Sightings of living frilled sharks are rare, because the fish generally remain thousands of feet beneath the water's surface.

Spotted by a fisher on January 21, this 5.3-foot (160-centimeter) shark was transferred to the marine park, where it was placed in a seawater pool.

"We think it may have come to the surface because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in shallow waters," a park official told the Reuters news service. But the truth may never be known, since the "living fossil" died hours after it was caught.

See these photos and more at National Geographic

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Shark Declines Threaten Shellfish Stocks, Study Says

Dramatic declines of large North Atlantic sharks due to overfishing have upset the balance of entire marine ecosystems, a new study shows. Now scallops, clams, and oysters are paying the price. Smaller sharks, skates, and rays that are normally eaten by the large sharks have become so abundant that they are ravaging shellfish stocks, the researchers say.

Read more at National Geographic...

Dive In To Earth Day 2007

Dive In To Earth Day is an international Earth Day celebration that mobilizes environmentally conscious communities, park managers, dive shops and other marine lovers around the world to take a stand in protecting our endangered water world.

Dive In has become a huge driving force for environmental awareness and has involved thousands of participants in active marine conservation. In the past seven years, Dive In organizers have held 2,000 marine conservation events in 117 countries worldwide, removing trash, educating children and their communities, supporting marine protected areas, and much more.

Sign up their website here...

Millionaire diver wins right to explore wreck of the Lusitania

Mystery surrounding the sinking of the Lusitania may be resolved after the American owner of the Cunard liner won his case to dive on the wreck.

The decision by the Supreme Court in Dublin, the highest court in the Irish Republic, to overturn a refusal for an exploration licence from the Arts and Heritage Ministry clears the way for Gregg Bemis to realise a 40-year dream to uncover what made “the Greyhound of the Sea” sink so fast after she was torpedoed by a German U-boat off southwest Ireland in May 1915.

Mr Bemis, 78, is planning a dive on the Lusitania, lying in 300ft of water, this summer. But his main research will be conducted next year. “All the equipment that I need has already been booked for this year,” he told Irish newspapers.

Read the full story on Times Online...

Vitamins benefit divers' health

Vitamin doses can reduce ill-effects of scuba diving on divers' circulation, a study suggests. Scientists gave vitamins C and E, which work as antioxidants, to divers. The vitamins stopped ill-effects of the dive on the cells lining blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure and other associated diving problems. But diving experts said the vitamins would have a limited impact.

See more of this on BBC News